Relive the Golden Age of Comics With Dark Horse's Black Beetle

The Black Beetle Vol. 1Eisner Award-winning creator Francesco Francavilla (Batman: The Black Mirror) calls back to the pulp comics of yesteryear with The Black Beetle Volume 1: No Way Out (APR130019) from Dark Horse Comics.

While investigating a mysterious mass murder that leveled Colt City's mob bosses, Black Beetle gets wrapped up in a puzzling maze of clues. Could the appearance of a costumed criminal named Labyrinto be related to the destruction of the powerful organized-crime racket?

This new series from Eisner Award-winning artist Francavilla should appeal to fans of Golden Age comics, as well as hard boiled pulp superheroics. Critics have offered a high level of praise for the series, spreading the word to fans:

"Murder! Intrigue! Nazi werewolves! Is there anything else you really need in a book? Considering that everyone from Jim Steranko to Matt Wagner to Warren Ellis is raving about the book, we suggest you hightail it down to your local comic book shop and snag a copy before the trail goes cold."—Nerdist

PREVIEWSworld spoke with Black Beetle creator Francesco Francavilla about his new series.

For someone not familiar, could you introduce the Black Beetle?

Francesco Francavilla: The Black Beetle is a neo-noir masked hero/vigilante operating in Colt City. We don't know who he is, not yet anyway. We do know that he has access to some advantaged technology that allows him to take care of the many threats the citizens have to face from time to time. Black Beetle is action, mystery, suspense, more action, thriller, horror. He's what I call "all the good stuff."

PREVIEWSworld: Even though the story is told from the Black Beetle's perspective, you don’t reveal his identity or much about him. Will we learn who he is as the series progresses?

Francesco Francavilla: Readers will learn more about his personality and the way he operates and fights crime, but I am gonna keep his identity secret for some time. So far it seems like most everybody is OK with that choice.

PREVIEWSworld: From all of the places and people introduced in the story, it feels like you have the setting of Colt City pretty well developed. How fully have you mapped out the world? Can readers expect to see more of these people/places (such as the nightclub) in future volumes?

Francesco Francavilla: COLT CITY is definitely something that is "alive" and growing as the series progresses, so you can expect to see more of its seedy insides. The main points have been mapped out (geographical location, size, some recurring spots like the Museum, the Prison-Island, the COCO Club, etc) but I’ll be showing more (and new) spots as we delve deeper in the tales.

PREVIEWSworld: The Black Beetle seems to harken back to the old serials (with the gadgets, mix of gangsters and costumes, etc.). Were you thinking of those when you were writing the story, and were there any in particular that were a strong influence?

Francesco Francavilla: The Black beetle is a love letter to old serials and pulp movies, so I was definitely thinking to those when plotting/drawing it. I also wanted to put a new spin on it, which is why I dig the "neo-noir" term so much.
As to which serial or movie or novel inspired this, let's say they are just too many to list and we don't have that much space here ;)

PREVIEWSworld: There are a lot of inventive layouts throughout the series. How do you approach the art for Black Beetle?

Francesco Francavilla: The Black Beetle is the first long-format book I am doing all by myself. Being the writer of this, I leave it to the artist part of me to do all the heavy-lifting in terms of visuals, and I think it's paying off. I can have fun and tell the story in a more visual/cinematographical way. It's not an accident that at the beginning of each issue I use the words "WRITTEN AND DIRECTED." I see these as little movies on paper.

PREVIEWSworld: What are some of your favorite pulp heroes/stories?

Francesco Francavilla: As mentioned, too many to list: Zorro, The Shadow, Green Hornet, Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, just to name a few. They are just too darn many. ;)

Click on the preview images below to view larger size

The Black Beetle official webpage/blog:

Francesco Francavilla official website:

The Black Beetle Volume 1: No Way Out is available on October 16th at your local comic shop!

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